Report Outlines Ways to Overcome Seven Barriers to Success with Personas
Since personas were introduced into the customer experience landscape almost two decades ago, they have grown into one of the most popular resources for CX practitioners. However, as personas' popularity has increased, so has the potential for misunderstanding and failure to benefit from their application.
A Sept. 12, 2017 report by Forrester Research -- "Persona Pitfalls: Seven Missteps And How To Avoid Them" -- examines seven barriers to success with personas, along with strategies and best practices for overcoming these hurdles. [Note: Report access requires purchase or subscription.]
Authored by Forrester Analyst Kelly Price with David Truog, Scott Ross and Shayna Neuburg, the in-depth document highlights key takeaways such as the power of personas when used correctly, and their improvements to an organization's design decisions, CX strategy and customer empathy.
Potential vs. Reality
The widespread adoption of personas has often led to a disconnect between personas' potential and the reality with which many companies struggle. Such pitfalls can include personas that are based on irrelevant or nonactionable data, created without a defined goal or purpose, kept static across time and use cases, used inconsistently and not formally integrated into work processes, and crafted as artifacts that distract rather than improve decision making, among others.
The Forrester report outlines several strategies -- such as defining your purpose for using personas before you create them -- for avoiding these barriers.
Among the examples cited is projekt202's persona work with a major auto manufacturer.
"For instance, consultancy projekt202 found that a large auto manufacturing client needed to redefine the way it was thinking about its overarching dealership experience. To tackle this, it created customer personas that captured customers’ changing goals across the life cycle, as well as personas for corporate employees whose work affects the dealership experience," the report states. "Dealerships received 'strategy toolkits' that enriched the personas and provided training. This helped them to better serve customers and deliver a more consistent experience across locations."
"Personas are an often-maligned artifact, because they’re often executed poorly," said projekt202 Vice President of Experience Strategy and Insight (ESI) Aliza Gold. "Forrester's report is well worth a read if you’re interested to learn what goes into great personas. It makes great points about ways to make personas valuable, including having a focus for the personas and conducting research that provides real understanding."
Setting Up Personas for Success
Fully understanding the people who will use an organization's products and services is the foundation of projekt202's repeatable, programmatic methodology.
This proven process allows developers, designers, marketers and architects to make decisions that support the intended customer experience. Successfully reaching a business goal depends on having a clear target, one based on an understanding of what customers and users value.
As noted in projekt202's book Designing Software for People, "By directly observing people, we can get to the heart of their needs, motivations and aspirations. We observe users in their 'habitats' -- in the office, at home or at play -- and we uncover what drives them, what inspires them and what connects with them on an emotional level. By doing this, we create knowledge for our clients of where to invest resources based on this deep understanding of what people value."
Forrester's "Persona Pitfalls: Seven Missteps And How To Avoid Them" report provides more details and recommendations for setting up personas for success.
For information on getting the complete report, visit the Forrester website.
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